If you’re going to ask several persons working in a call center industry about ‘how was it going?’ you will likely to hear extreme negative feedback based on their experience. But the question is, isn’t it?
After graduation, like every fresh graduate out there, I have some thinking of getting a good-paying job rather than practicing my profession. Why? Because there is a large number of graduates every year and experienced professionals competing with each other for a limited supply of vacancies. In addition, salary may not be enough due to the high cost of living in Metro Manila.
As usual, upon browsing job postings online, call center jobs are flooded everywhere and indeed to think that call center agents are in demand up to today.
I am working in the industry for several months now and in this article, I will discuss what are the advantages and disadvantages of working in a Call Center company.
Advantages of working as a Call Center Agent
1. Competetive Salary
In the Philippines, working in a BPO company generally means a good-paying job. According to Glassdoor, as of June 2021, the average basic salary of a call center agent in the Manila area is about ₱17,000.00 per month. This is far beyond the pay of a typical retail store and office staff with a minimum wage of ₱537.00 per day.
One of the advantages of working at nightshift is that according to the Philippine Labor Law, every employee working between 10 PM to 6 AM is entitled to an increase of 10 percent on their regular hourly rate.
2. Bonuses Incentives and Perks are Real
Unlike other industries, bonuses and incentives are flooding when you work in a BPO company, still, depending on the company. The following is the list of bonuses, incentives, and perks you may enjoy if you work as a call center agent.
- Perfect Attendance Bonus – This is a bonus you will receive if you have no absences or tiredness within the whole month.
- Performance Bonus – Your employer will provide performance bonuses to appreciate and encourage their employee to keep up the good work.
- Signing Bonus – This is one of the company’s ways to attract applicants to apply for their campaign. You will receive a signing bonus once you reach 3 up to 6 months working with them, again, depending on the company.
- Free Meal – You are lucky enough if your company provides free meals in the canteen for all of their employees.
- Free Coffee and Snacks – Giving free coffee and sometimes, snacks, is very usual in a BPO company.
- Living Quarter – If you want to minimize your living expenses in the city, some big BPO companies are providing a free living quarter with complete supplies for their employees.
- Travel Allowances – The management will provide a reimbursement to your travel expenses such as transport fair or vehicles’ fuel.
- Shuttle Service – For those companies which cannot afford to give travel allowance, providing free shuttle service for their employees is a great alternative.
- Internet and Electricity Allowances – Due to the pandemic, many of the BPO workers were working from home until further notice. This means that the company will provide the equipment and the allowance for the electricity and internet.
3. Room for Promotion
Getting a promotion to your current job is not that easy as you watched in movies and TV series. You need to pay attention to the ins and outs of your work, attend tons of seminars, spend years on service to gain experience, and even get a post-graduate degree.
That is totally different in the call center industry. As long as you hit your KPI, complied with the company rules, showed up mastery of your task, and gain a good reputation from your team leader or supervisor, promotion is fast and possible.
4. Massively Hiring
The ongoing growth of the industry is at its positive rate and every single company progressively expanding. This means that in every expansion, there is a new room for a job vacancy, an opportunity that should not be ignored by ordinary job seekers in this country.
Another scenario why call center jobs are highly in demand is that people in the BPO companies normally come and go. The continued growth of the industry makes each company more competitive with each others. As a result, employees tend to be attracted to job offers by other companies due to higher salaries.
Downsides of working as a Call Center Agent
If you’re planning to work as a call center agent, you should make yourself ready for the following;
- Irate Customer – The customer service help desk is designed to handle support and customer complaints, and most of them are getting irate due to the frustration and bad experiences from the company you are serving. You should be able to handle this type of customer and situations wherein yelling, badmouthing, swearing, and sometimes, being racist if they discover that you are an outsourced foreign worker.
- Lying – Most of the irate customers are requesting to transfer them to a supervisor wherein the instruction by your superior is to tell the customer that “my supervisor is currently in the meeting” and that you can handle their complaints in the same way as the team leaders do. In some cases, a customer will realize that you are working outside their country, and if they are rude, these callers will try to trick you through questions like “if you’re really working here, can you please tell me what’s the weather today?” Of course, your priority is to follow the instruction of your superiors not to tell the customer that you are working overseas, hence, you need to lie.
- Queuing – Imagine how frustrating that there are 20 calls to be answered in the queue that leaves no time for you to finish the work from your last call. There is no room for any mistakes, and if there are, it could be a disaster.
- Health at Risk – When an employee is under constant pressure, it is normal for a human to look for something to cope-up this feeling. Possibilities are eating too much, playing video games for long hours, smoking, and drinking alcohol, just to relieve their stress.
The selection process may differ for every account and BPO company. I have seen a lot of job posting online claiming that you can pass their assessment easily, as long as you can speak basic English. In reality, how can you communicate with a foreign customer if you cannot speak fluently?
According to some call center agents I interviewed, this is just a trick to get a positive public figure and to attract applicants at the same time. In addition, during your working days as a call center agent, you will realize that metrics, quotas, and deadlines are almost impossible to achieve which may result in a low-performance rating.
If you’re planning to work in a BPO industry, you must accept the fact that you have no freedom with your schedule. Shifting schedules is one of the call center agents and wanna-be. Think up how can you survive your shift starts from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM knowing that you will go back to the office at 2 PM on the same day?
4. People Come and Go
As Business Process Outsourcing industry in the Philippines positively grows annually, companies are trying to be competitive with each other to attract clients and also, applicants.
I remember that two of my friends Kaycee and Mark both agreed to say that you will only feel the excitement with your job for the first three months, after that, your satisfaction may solely depend on the salary, bonuses, and incentives. In addition to this statement, if they sought another company that offers great pay and more incentives, chances are they will resign or AWOL to grab this opportunity.
If we’re going to analyze the given advantages and disadvantages of working as a call center agent, we will notice that stress and health risk are the majority consequences of a high salary. Some people can easily handle this type of daily routine, some may not. It is clear that every job has its own ups and downs so the decision of whether you will grab this opportunity or not is yours.
If you’re going to take this opportunity, I would like to welcome you to this modern industry. If not, I wish all the best luck for your future endeavor.